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Can a Bar Be Liable for a Drunk Driving Crash?

Drunk man giving car key to woman, on blurred background. Don't drink and drive concept

Getting hit by a drunk driver can be devastating in more ways than one. Drunk drivers often don’t take any evasive measures to avoid a crash or lessen its impact, so the force of the collision is frequently much more severe than crashes caused by sober drivers. In addition, crash victims and their families undergo severe emotional strain and outrage knowing the crash was caused by drinking and driving. Some of that anger might be directed at the bar or restaurant if they overserved a customer knowing he or she would soon be behind the wheel. It only seems right that establishments that serve alcohol should be held responsible in certain circumstances. Texas law does indeed allow for such claims in appropriate cases. Learn more below about the concept of “dram shop liability,” and contact Gilbert Adams Law Offices in Beaumont for help from a compassionate and dedicated Texas personal injury lawyer.

Understanding Dram Shop Liability in Texas

Dram shop laws are designed to hold alcohol-serving establishments accountable if they serve alcohol to visibly intoxicated persons who then cause harm to others. In Texas, the Alcoholic Beverage Code Section 2.02, also known as the “Dram Shop Act,” outlines the circumstances under which a provider can be held liable for damages caused by an intoxicated person.

For a bar or establishment to be held liable under the Dram Shop Act, it must be proven that:

  1. The establishment served alcohol to an individual who was obviously intoxicated to the extent that they presented a clear danger to themselves and others.
  2. The intoxication of the individual was a proximate cause of the damages suffered.

Additionally, any adult can be held liable for damages caused by the intoxication of a minor under age 18 if either of the following apply:

  1. The adult knowingly served or provided alcohol to the minor that contributed to the minor’s intoxication; or
  2. The adult knowingly allowed the minor to be served or provided with alcohol that contributed to the minor’s intoxication on the premises owned or leased by the adult.

Note that this part of the law doesn’t just apply to bars and restaurants but to any adult, such as at a private party, unless the adult was the minor’s parent, guardian, spouse or had custody of the minor under court order.

The Role of a Personal Injury Attorney

Whether the drunk driver was a minor or an adult, proving dram shop liability under Texas law can be challenging. Establishments often deny responsibility, and gathering evidence of over-service can be difficult. This is where the expertise of a skilled personal injury attorney becomes invaluable. Evidence such as surveillance footage, eyewitness testimony, and expert analysis can all play a pivotal role in establishing liability. An experienced lawyer will know how to obtain needed evidence and put together a strong case proving liability.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a drunk driving crash, it’s essential to consult with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney who understands the complexities of dram shop liability. The legal team at Gilbert Adams Law Offices is experienced in investigating these cases, gathering evidence, and advocating for the rights of injury victims in Houston, Galveston, and across the state of Texas.

Our attorneys can help you:

  • Investigate the circumstances of the accident to determine if the establishment served alcohol to an obviously intoxicated individual.
  • Gather evidence such as surveillance videos, witness statements, and alcohol service records.
  • Navigate the legal process and ensure that your rights are protected at every step.
  • Negotiate a full and fair settlement that recognizes the extent of harm done and furthers the ends of justice.

Seeking Justice and Compensation

For victims of drunk driving accidents, holding the responsible parties accountable is not only about seeking compensation for their losses but also about promoting public safety. By pursuing dram shop liability claims, victims can send a strong message to establishments about the importance of responsible alcohol service. Exemplary damages might even be proper against the drunk driver as well as the establishment that willfully ignored its duty to serve responsibly.

If you’ve been affected by a drunk driving crash and believe that an establishment’s irresponsible service of alcohol played a role, the Gilbert Adams Law Offices can help. Our experienced personal injury attorneys are committed to fighting for the rights of injury victims and ensuring that justice is served. Call 409-835-3000 for a free consultation at our offices in Beaumont or virtually in Houston, Galveston or throughout Texas.

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